Friday, April 1, 2016

Pretzel Knots

I love pretzels.  The soft kind.  Not the  hard, flavorless I'm only eating these because they seem better for me than potato chips kind.  The dip in mustard kind.  I tried making them several years ago and the results were disappointing.  But then I read up on them a little bit and realized I was doing everything wrong.  I recently prepared a meal that included bratwursts and a cabbage recipe (stay tuned!) and I thought some pretzels would be a nice nod to the German-esque meal.  I saw a picture somewhere of Pretzel Knots which turned out to be cuter than regular pretzels.  Who doesn't want to eat something that's cuter than a pretzel?  It turned out to be super simple.  I used my Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe for the dough.  Then I did a simple boiling technique, sprinkled them with salt and baked until golden.  They were delicious.  Authentic and the perfect compliment to our German-style dinner.  I'm so happy I decided to give pretzel-making another try.  Turned out to be very simple and very tasty.
Homemade Pretzel Knots
with cheese sauce for dipping...

Pretzel Knots

9 ounces warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

5 cups water
1/4 cup baking soda

1 egg
1 tablespoon water

Kosher or other coarse salt if desired.  (You can find Pretzel Salt HERE.)

In a small bowl combine the water, yeast and sugar.  Set aside for 5 minutes to allow the yeast to "bloom."  Place flour and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer with the dough hook attached.  Add yeast mixture and olive oil.  Turn on low until combined.  Then turn mixer to medium-high speed and knead for 5-10 minutes, or until a smooth ball has formed.  Lightly oil a large bowl with a small amount of olive oil.  Place dough in bowl, turning on all sides to coat.  Cover bowl with a clean towel and set in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.  (I usually place my oven on the warm setting and set the bowl on top of the stove.)  When the dough has risen, punch down and knead lightly on a floured surface.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Roll out dough until it is approximately 1-1 1/2 -inches thick.  Cut dough into strips approximately 5-6 inches long and tie into a knot.  Place the water and baking soda in a pot and bring to a boil.  Drop the knots a few at a time into the boiling water for about 30 seconds.  Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a greased baking sheet.  They should look puffy.  Combine the egg and tablespoon of water to create an egg wash.  One all of the knots have been boiled, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with salt (or sugar if you want sweet pretzels.)  Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown.  Serve with mustard or cheese sauce for dipping if desired.

Prep Time:  Approximately 45 minutes       Cook Time:  Approximately 10-12 minutes

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